“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” So they say. The coming holiday months may be jolly for some, but for many people holiday time is a reminder of feeling overwhelmed, loneliness, or triggers of bad memories. While you may embrace the holiday spirit, keep in mind that for some, the coming months can be the worst time of the year. Many people are facing financial struggles and the fact that they cannot afford to buy gifts, pressures to attend social gatherings which can cause intense anxiety, triggers related to food and weight, or family they are no longer in contact with, and the sadness this brings. Others may feel pressure to maintain relationships, with family or otherwise, they wish they could get out of but can’t for one reason or another.
Many people do not talk about the struggles they face during the holidays for fear of ruining the spirit of the season for others. Some may not be aware that they become more stressed during the holiday months, which can lead to interpersonal relationship problems that seem to come from nowhere. Going out to the store to run an everyday errand may trigger negative emotions from the sheer amount of in-your-face reminders that the holidays are coming.
If you feel overwhelmed or triggered by holiday time, know that this is common and that you are not alone. Many people begin or return to therapy during these months, partly as a safe and private place to express these overwhelming and often shameful feelings.